A local cattle farmer says he and his herd were distressed by what he’s describing as the heavy-handed approach by the province's Animal Protection Services. However, the provincial agency said they have the right to move onto a property to assist animals in need of protection.
Alex Potoreyko at Porcupine Plain suggested the action by officers on Monday to seize and remove cattle which hadn't had their hooves trimmed was overkill.
“They’re driving them with horses, the cattle are balling, they’re chasing them around trying to get them into this portable pen they set up,” Potoreyko told paNOW. “They’re stressing 200 animals to capture and supposedly relieve half a dozen.”
He insisted it was unnecessary for officers and wranglers to force themselves onto this property.
“My animals are in good shape, they’re well fed and well looked-after but they’re making this issue about distress, pain, and euthanize; that’s the three-word vocabulary they have,” Potoreyko said.
He claimed the RCMP and protection officers cut through his fence to gain access, although he admitted he’d blocked the entrances with a tractor and vehicle. He added he received an earlier Corrective Action Order from the agency but mistook the deadline date on it. Regardless, he claims the whole experience was deeply disturbing and he was admitted to hospital for tests for a possible heart attack.
Animal Protection Services said they were within their rights to take action. While he could not go into too many specifics regarding the situation, Executive Director Don Ferguson told paNOW there was an ongoing investigation and they were responding to a complaint from the public.
Speaking in general terms, he added if someone who had been sent a Corrective Action Order was not willing to cooperate “we have the ability to go onto the property without a search warrant and ensure that order has been complied with.”
Ferguson said officers along with a vet and wranglers could move in and gather animals into one location where they could be individually assessed to determine if they needed to be removed to relieve their distress, and to determine the owner’s ability to provide care.
He added Potoreyko was previously charged regarding another matter and was facing a court date late in November. Potoreyko acknowledged this to paNOW and said he was disputing it.
Meanwhile, Ferguson figured more such actions against animal owners may be necessary in future especially in light of recent changes to the Animal Protection Act.
“New provisions that some people may not be aware of include the updated definition of what distress is in an animal, also a section for animal care duties, and veterinarians’ duty to report contraventions,” he said.
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